By: Jared McMurry
The Runnin’ Bulldogs have their home opener at Ernest W. Spangler Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014; as they play host to Virginia Lynchburg (0-2).
The Gardner-Webb football team (0-2) is coming off their second straight loss, as they fell at Wake Forest 23-7. Virginia Lynchburg fell to Jackson State 59-0 last week.
As the Runnin’ Bulldogs prepare to take on the Hornets, Coach McCray looks for his team to continue to improve in all facets of the game and start a winning streak. The Bulldogs were 5-1 last year at home. “It is fun to play at home, and a win Saturday night would be huge for our program,” he said.
McCray believes that his team has put in hard work since the loss at Wake Forest and knows his team must stay focused throughout the practice week in order to lineup Saturday and be ready to come out victorious.
Freshman quarterback Tyrell Maxwell saw a lot of action last week at Wake Forest as he led the team in rushing with 62 yards on 12 carries and scored the only touchdown for the Bulldogs.
McCray feels Maxwell has something to offer the team and plans on using a two-quarterback system this week along with Senior, Lucas Beatty.
“Luke has to come on and be the guy we know he can be,” McCray said. “Tyrell is a guy who gives us mobility on our feet, and will allow us to move forward as a team.”
Coach McCray also mentioned that Maxwell has room for improvement including the skill to be more of a passer rather than a running back.
Various injuries at the wide-receiver position have caused the Bulldogs to have to add another player from the practice squad for this week’s game.
Another spot that has shown signs of concern for McCray and his staff is the defense. “Our linebackers did not perform well, probably for the first time,” he said.
McCray also plans to go with a little more simplicity. He plans on possibly starting two true freshmen on the interior of the defense this week. “Putting them on the sidelines is not one of our options right now,” he said. “We are going to force them to play, and to play better.”
Gardner-Webb looks to establish its run game against Virginia Lynchburg, while going with a more balanced attack under their two-quarterback system.
The Hornets come into Saturday’s game having given up 486 rushing yards in their first two contests. Kickoff for Saturday’s game will be at 6pm.